Growing Pains

The chicks are getting so big so incredibly quickly!

 A few days after bringing them home.

(Blizzard, a few weeks ago)

I’ve raised chicks before, so I should know that this is how it always goes, but it’s still so weird how fast they grow! Because we see the chicks at the feed store, and they’re Always Tiny, week after week. (Of course, that’s because they’re perpetually getting new chicks, not because their chicks grow more slowly or magically remain cute and tiny.) But it’s weird, see, when you bring those chicks home, and they’re these little teeny fluffy clumsy balls going peep-peep one minute, and the Next thing you know, they’re flapping and full of pin-feathers and slightly ugly, to be honest. (It’s the adolescent acne phase of chicks, the pin feather stage.) And you think, Help, someone accidentally put growth hormones in their food! My poor organic chicks! But you know that didn’t happen. And you secretly want the cute fluff balls back, but it’s too late! That phase is over! It went too fast!  Like when you buy those spongy tablets that grow in water to become a surprise animal and you just can’t wait to put it in water when you get home and it’s so exciting and fun and suspenseful!!! And then, bam, it pops open and unfolds and it’s a mini useless faintly animal-shaped colored sponge. Game over. Anti-climax at its best. (Blizzard, now)

So our chicks are no longer in that cute little teeny Easter chick phase. But they are past the pin feather stage, thank the gods of aesthetics. And they’re all different breeds – one of each (Rhode Island Red, Black Australorp, Barred Rock, White Leghorn, Buff Orpington, and Maran).

Little Hen Rhyme (traditional)

I had a little hen, the prettiest ever seen,
She washed up the dishes and kept the house clean.
She went to the mill to fetch us some flour,
And always got home in less than an hour.
She baked me my bread, she brewed me my ale,
She sat by the fire and told a fine tale!


Every Bloomin’ Thing

We viewed and bought our little farm at the end of last summer, so as the seasons have been changing, we have been getting to know what is planted here and how to care for it all. 

One of the best surprises so far has been a long stretch of cheerful, fragrant Paperwhite Narcissuses all the way down the driveway.

If only you could smell them!

I cut some for an indoor display and was rewarded with their fragrance all week. The following weekend, however, all the flower clusters on the hill looked like this:

…so I went through and deadheaded them to help them put their energy into the bulbs for next year. It’s hard to say goodbye, because these flowers were a sure sign of Spring (and Hope for warmer weather) after a long and cold winter.

My bucketful of narcissus flowers. I can’t feed these to the goats, so they are composting. I wish I knew of some other use for them, though. If you have any ideas, let me know!

Here are some other Spring blooms! 

We planted a row of tulips in the Fall because we were eager to plant something at our new house, and now we have a gorgeous row of color bordering one side of our yard!

We also planted fruit trees in December and January. These, too, are now blooming.

The grape vines we pruned are budding…

Not to mention the wildflowers in the orchard! But that’s another post…

If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for a moment.

Georgia O’Keefe


With a cluck, cluck here…

Ever since we made our big move to Northern California, we have had to go without fresh eggs from our backyard hens.

And yes, we purchased some adorable chicks in February, but let’s face it – the price you pay for falling in love with adorable fluff balls is having to wait 5-6 months for your first egg.

So when we heard that someone in the next town needed to find a home for their year-old pullets (coop and all), we practically fell over ourselves to figure out how to transport them to our farm.

Of course, since we have a puppy (as yet untested with chickens), plus lots of wild predators in the area, we put Building a Run to the top of our farm To-Do list.

There’s something cheerful, welcoming, and homey about the sound of chickens clucking in the yard.

It also makes the farm feel more, well, farm-like. 😊

Welcome, Henriettas!

Thank you for the fresh eggs!

They appear to be Red Star hens – all six of them, and they’re great layers of large brown eggs!

“Please tell me; how is it that you are able to talk all of the sudden?” Asked Dorothy. “I thought hens could only cluck and cackle.” “Why, as for that,” answered the yellow hen thoughtfully, “I’ve clucked and cackled all my life, and never spoken a word before this morning, that I can remember. But when you asked a question, a minute ago, it seemed the most natural thing in the world to answer you. So I spoke, and I seem to keep on speaking, just as you and other human beings do. Strange, isn’t it?” “Very,” replied Dorothy. “But if we were in the magical Land of Oz, I wouldn’t think it so queer, because many of the animals can talk in that country.”

from Ozma of Oz (1907) by Frank L. Baum